It took me awhile to truly appreciate being on vacation. There was a time when I would bring my “work phone” with me and check emails every morning – while on vacation. Then I would wonder why I didn’t feel like I was on vacation.
What I learned is that, trying to be a hero did no one any good. First off, I am not the leader of a free country. Unless Rome was burning and I was the Prime Minister there is no reason why an email couldn’t wait. I wasn’t truly relaxing and enjoying my time where I was (and these were some beautiful places) because I was always ON. Second, the people at work realized that I was “working anyway” so they would send more emails. Why would they respect my time off if I wasn’t?
What was I showing the people that I worked with? Being a hero so they would say “look at her…she’s so on the ball.” I got over than quickly. No one is going to “make you relax” except for you. Now, when I go on vacation I don’t bring my “work phone” and I don’t check webmail either. Who has time to sit in front of a computer while you have a beach chair calling your name and an awesome book to read? Dare I forget a drink with an umbrella in it? Better yet a sunset that is breathtaking?
So for the last several years my vacations have been vacations. Where I have taken the time to rejuvenate, relax, sleep in, nap, tune in, tune out and just BE. And I can say these are the best vacations – for me.
Maybe the next time you go away you will truly have some time for YOU. Which means no webmail, work phone, work computer. Just time for you to truly relax. To unplug. This may be a little hard to do. But then you can ask yourself “why is it so hard for me to let go for x days?” Do I have the right team? If the answer is no, then get the right team of people so that you can take care of you. Do you have something to prove? If the answer is yes, the next question is to ask is it to you or someone else? Unplugging for a couple of days is not a work infraction that will leave you in the HR office. It’s healthy and I am walking proof that taking a vacation didn’t stop the world.